In collaboration with the Puskás Institute, the National Football Museum presents a career retrospective of Football’s Top Scorer of the 20th century, captain of Hungary’s ‘Golden Team’ and Real Madrid’s European Cup record breaker, Ferenc Puskás.
A Star is Born
From an early age, young Ferenc could always be found playing football with his friends or honing his technique.
The Galloping Major
Aged just 16, Puskás made his debut for Kispesti AC in 1943. They were taken over by the Hungarian Ministry of Defence in 1949 and renamed Budapesti Honvéd.
Olympic Glory in Helsinki
Puskás made his debut for Hungary in 1945 and went on to become the captain of the national side that remained unbeaten for 32 consecutive games, winning Olympic Gold along the way.
The Golden Team
In the 1950s the “Magical Magyars” dazzled the world. Between June 1950 and February
1956 they played 50 games, winning 42 and drawing 7.
World Cup Wonder
Two years on from their Olympic exploits, Hungary continued their incredible run into the 1954 FIFA World Cup in Switzerland, which they entered as favourites.
Political Unrest in Hungary
Between 1945 and 1956, Puskás played 85 games for Hungary, scoring a record 84 times, but his international run was abruptly ended and his life was forever changed by the Hungarian Revolution.
Despite reports that he had been killed during the fighting in Budapest, Puskás was beginning an uncertain new stage in his life and career.
A Year in the Wilderness
With a Hungarian Federation ban backed up by FIFA, Puskás faced two years out of football. Officially, no clubs could speak to him and neither was he allowed onto a pitch even to train.
Although Bernabéu had been persuaded to bring the 31 year old Puskás to Madrid, the Hungarian still had much to do to convince his new coach and team mates of his worth.
The Model Professional
In what amounted to almost a second career, Puskás redefined himself as an individual and as a sportsman.
Master of the European Cup
Having sat out the previous year’s final, Puskás made up for it against Eintracht Frankfurt at Hampden Park in 1960. In his first European Cup final, Puskás scored four goals, propelling Real Madrid to their fifth consecutive triumph, while setting a goalscoring record that remains unbeaten. This, at the age of 33, was perhaps his greatest game.
Real continued to dominate the Spanish Liga as well as competing at the highest level in European football, while Puskás maintained his form well into his third decade of professional football.
As his playing career ended, the only certainty for Puskás was that his life in football would continue, albeit from the other side of the touchline.
Puskás takes Greek underdogs Panathinaikos to the brink of European glory before continuing his globetrotting adventures in coaching.
The Exile Returns
After 25 years away from his homeland, Puskás returned to Hungary, to play one final time for the Magyars.
In retirement and now resettled in Budapest, Puskás once again became the face of Hungarian football.
Following Puskás death, the Hungarian’s legacy continued.
The Puskás Institute
This exhibition is presented by the National Football Museum in collaboration with the Puskás Institute.
The National Football Museum Shop has a wide range of interesting and exclusive Puskás products for sale.